Thursday, 24 June 2021

#SELF #EXAMINATION#happy#right track


Some stories shake you up. They are unsettling because you wonder — what if this story is about me?

This is one such story.

The local goons were causing a nuisance for a shopkeeper. They would spray-paint abusive and derogatory graffiti all over his store window.

So the shopkeeper hatched a plan. The next day, he waited until the goons finished their dirty work and then he paid them Rs 1000 to thank them for their effort. The following day, he thanked them again but only paid Rs 500 this time. He continued to pay them to deface his property but the amount kept decreasing. Soon they were getting only Rs 10.

They stopped coming. Why bother doing all that work to abuse the shopkeeper for so little money?

I found this story in the book *The Knowledge Illusion.* The author writes — This apocryphal (imaginary) tale is about what causes people to act and how you can modify their motivations, to make them think they're doing something for a different reason than they initially thought.

You could argue that the local goons initially had an intrinsic motivation for derogatory graffiti. The clever shopkeeper subtly replaced their intrinsic motivation with an extrinsic incentive — money. And when that external reward dwindled, the goons didn't have a reason to continue their work.

If you use graffiti as a metaphor for the so-called "passionate work," then it's important to ask ourselves — are we like the local goons who have been sold on ideas about how cool it is to spray-paint graffiti?

What if all my decisions were based on borrowed ideas about what work is worth doing?
And what if the definition — how to measure the worth — itself is an idea some clever shopkeeper implanted in my mind?
I think this story is a great reminder to reevaluate where we're spending our precious life hours.
Are we doing something which we chose to do or was it decided by some manipulative shopkeeper(s)?

Are there pockets of time in your life that are being spent doing paid (but meaningless) graffiti?

Socrates rightly observed "Watch where your hours are going because an unexamined life, is not worth living."


Wednesday, 23 June 2021


*All men can see these TACTICS which I conquer, but what no one can see is the strategy, from which the victory is evolved*.

I have no idea whether this is really part of a program at Stanford. But I liked the story.

Most Stanford students failed this challenge.
Here's what we can learn from their mistakes.

A class on entrepreneurship was going on, the professor walks into the room, breaks the class into different teams, and gives each team $5 in funding.
The goal is to make as much money as possible within 2 hours and then give a 3 minute presentation to the class about what you have achieved.
If you were a student in the class, what would you do?
Typical answers range from using the $5 to buy start-up materials for a makeshift car wash or lemonade stand, to buying a lottery ticket or betting the $5 on red at the roulette table.
But the teams that follow these typical paths tend to bring up the rear in the class.

The teams that make the most money don't use the $5 at all.

They realize the five dollars is a distracting, and essentially worthless, resource.

So they ignore it. Instead, they go back to first principles and start from scratch.
They reframe the problem more broadly as "What can we do to make money if we start with absolutely nothing?"
One particularly successful team ended up making reservations at popular local restaurants and then selling the reservation times to those who wanted to skip the wait.

These students generated an impressive few hundred dollars in just two hours.

But the team that made the most money approached the problem differently. They realized that both the $5 funding and the 2-hour period weren't the most valuable assets at their disposal.
Rather, the most valuable resource was the 3 minute presentation time they had in front of a captivated Stanford class.

They sold their 3 minute slot to a company interested in recruiting Stanford students and walked away with $650.

The $5 challenge illustrates the difference between TACTICS and STRATEGY.
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to different concepts.

A STRATEGY is a plan for achieving an objective. TACTICS, in contrast, are the actions you undertake to implement the strategy.

The Stanford students who bombed the $5 challenge fixated on a tactic—how to use the $5 and lost sight of the strategy.

If we focus too closely on the tactic, we become dependent on it.
*"Tactics without strategy,"* as Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War, "are the noise before defeat."

Just because a $5 bill is sitting in front of you doesn't mean it's the right tool for the job.

Tools, as Neil Gaiman reminds us, "can be the subtlest of traps." When we're blinded by tools, we stop seeing other possibilities in the peripheries.

It's only when you zoom out and determine the broader strategy that you can walk away from a flawed tactic.

What is the $5 tactic in your own life? How can you ignore it and find the 2-hour window?
Or even better, how do you find the most valuable three minutes in your arsenal?

Once you move from the "what" to the "why"—once you frame the problem broadly in terms of what you're trying to do instead of your favored solution—you'll discover other possibilities lurking in plain sight.

Find your why, develop the right strategy and stay blessed forever.


Wednesday, 16 June 2021


*Perfection is the enemy of the good.*

This is a an aphorism which is commonly attributed to Voltaire.

The idea is simple: if you keep looking for something that is perfect, you will end up rejecting what is good enough.
There is also the concept of the *Nirvana Fallacy,* which amounts to comparing perfect, unrealisable ideal situations to something that actually exists.

As the old saying goes, "Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."
Trying to make something perfect can actually prevent us from making it just good.
Perfection in its elusive glory is like a unicorn. Sure, it sounds great, but who's actually seen one?
I'd rather ride a real horse than wait for an imagined unicorn.

Perfection can be a good thing: After all, that drive can push people to do great things. But it has a dark side, too. The challenge of "perfection" can intimidate people so they don't even try. If perfection is the goal, yet unattainable, what's the point?
So, if you can't achieve perfection, don't sweat it. Go for good instead. Gretchen Rubin described it this way:
"Instead of pushing yourself to an impossible 'perfect,' and therefore getting nowhere, accept 'good.' Many things worth doing are worth doing badly."

You're capable of amazing things. But unless you let go of the idea of perfection, you'll have a hard time achieving those amazing things.

The pursuit of perfection is noble, but unless we're willing to settle for "good," we may have to settle for nothing at all. It is better to strive for progress than perfection and stay blessed forever.



*𝖶𝗁𝗒 𝗒𝗈𝗎 𝗌𝗁𝗈𝗎𝗅𝖽 𝗇𝗈𝗍 𝖼𝗈𝗆𝗉𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝗒𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝗅𝗂𝖿𝖾 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝗌?*


Shweta covered a distance of 10 km in one hour.

Akash covered the same distance in one and a half hours.

Which of the two is faster and healthier?

Of course, your answer will be Shweta.

What if we say that Shweta covered this distance on a prepared track while Akash did it by walking on a sandy path?

Then our answer will be Akash.

But when we come to know that Shweta is 50 years old while Akash is 25 years old?

Then our answer will be Shweta again.

But we also come to know that Akash's weight is 140 kg while Shweta's weight is 65 kg.

Again our answer will be Akash

As we learn more about Akash and Shweta, our opinions and judgments about who is faster will change.


The reality of life is also similar. We form opinions very superficially and hastily, due to which we are not able to do justice to ourselves and others.

Opportunities vary.
Life is different.
Resources differ.
Problems change.
Solutions are different.

Therefore the excellence of life is not in *comparing* with anyone. Keep trying your best according to your circumstances.